Monday, 8 April 2013 | 18 comments

Sea of Cortez to the Pacific (+ fish taco primer)

“it would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing; to be loved without satiety.”
― John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
When my sister and I told people we were going to Baja, Mexico on vacation, their response was pretty standard: Two women, alone?! Drugs! Cartels! Crime! Which is hardly fair, but it did somehow color my expectations. Instead, we found some of the most beautiful, varied landscapes we had ever seen; warm, helpful locals; and not one bad meal. » Click to read more

Thursday, 17 May 2012 | 20 comments

Onwards, upwards, & moules marinières

“Oh, this is worse than I thought,” Allen says. “You’re lucky. See these bare wires? A giant fireball could have come barreling out at you! If that had happened, it would have singed off all your hair. Or blinded you.” I examine the little greasy metal box Allen is showing me. The wires do look a bit dubious. “I’m going to have to come back tomorrow.” I’m glad Allen is here. He’s the oven repair man, and it’s his second time at the house. He and I are becoming close. He wants to go fishing down at the creek, he says, and he’s going to teach Ben how to hunt deer. “And make sure NOBODY turns on that oven.” Somehow, the fact that we narrowly escaped a lit-gas fireball incident is unsurprising to me. It might even be an apt metaphor for the past few weeks, a whirlwind of growings-up and new beginnings and startings-over. My little sister, so much more than a sister and best friend, graduated college, leaving me bursting with pride and also feeling a bit wrecked. A friend got her dream job and is off to Texas, far away. All of nature, cultivated and uncultivated, seems to be echoing the forward motion, transitioning into a new stage. The trees shook off pretty blossoms and replaced them with lush green. Peas are ready to set fruit. The ducklings are growing up far too fast—I swear, they shoot up at least an inch a day—, seedlings have no need of being sheltered inside anymore, and oh, our favorite tiny hen (or what we thought was a hen) crowed the other day. » Click to read more

Monday, 25 July 2011 | 3 comments

Grilled watermelon & scallop ceviche

When I was 18, I arrived late at night in Lima, Peru, and was whisked off to the house of a family friend with whom I’d be staying. I watched Lima—a city that’s a sensory overload of dirty streets, tropical flowers, political propaganda, colonial palaces, street food vendors, and stray dogs—go by through the open window of the cab and smelled, above all of that, the briny Pacific. When we reached the house, my hostess sat me down at the kitchen table. I had never heard of ceviche before, but as a bowl was placed in front of me, that same ocean-salted tang wafted up. Whatever was in that bowl, it was scented like the sea.
The trip to Peru shaped me in a lot of ways—it was my first time traveling solo internationally, my first exposure to global health and development work, and in my head, I still equate ceviche with dusty adventure and fierce independence. I’ve loved it since. That first Peruvian ceviche was made with a delicately flaked white fish, but Gabi’s version with scallops and watermelon has been on my radar for awhile now. Worrying that the watermelon flavor might be too overpowering, she uses just the palest pink-white part of the watermelon, closest to the rind, in her ceviche. I was not trying to have a lot of leftover watermelon, though, and needed another way to mellow out the flavor. » Click to read more

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